HR leaders unite with Metro Mayors on good employment

CIPD North held an exclusive Good Employment Summit for HR leaders, in collaboration with the Metro Mayors of Manchester, Liverpool and West Yorkshire, to explore ways to drive good employment standards and address regional inequalities.

The online session highlighted the CIPD’s support and guidance in helping all three Metro Mayors develop localised fair employment charters in their respective city regions.

The summit also addressed the urgent need for skills reform, fair pay across all industries and more business support needed for SMEs, along with the importance of job quality and wellbeing.

Rising cost of living

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire spoke passionately about the spiralling cost of living, particularly in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. “We are all going to be affected by the rising cost of living. But for those in insecure and poorly paid work, this is an incredibly terrifying time right now and will lead to more people suffering from stress and poor mental health as a result”, she said.

She also highlighted recent ONS stats which revealed that one-third of people are in quality jobs in West Yorkshire, but “what about the rest?”, she asked.

Creating fair places to work and do business

To help address regional inequalities and ensure more people have access to quality work with fair pay, Tracy is launching a Fair Work Charter in West Yorkshire. It will provide comprehensive guidance and support – including CIPD resources - for employers to improve their employment standards and boost productivity.

The Metro Mayors of Manchester and Liverpool both spoke about how they have implemented such Fair Work Charters in their respective regions, using CIPD support and resources.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool commented: “Our Charter – with the CIPD’s support – is driving real change in Liverpool. It takes employers on a journey to deliver good people practices that support the wellbeing and mental health of workers.

“The Charter also recognises the exemplary employers out there that are already doing the right thing and providing safe and quality jobs that are fairly paid.”

Creating a movement: secure work & better mental health

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester stressed the importance of seeing the Fair Work Charter’s as a movement. “The best anecdote to the mental health pandemic we now have, is this movement of good and secure work for everyone. This will make all businesses and the northern economy far more successful and resilient to any shocks in the future, he said.”

As Greater Manchester is the country’s first real living wage city region, Andy also highlighted the need for more employers to pay the real living wage, acknowledging that employers who do will reap the rewards of a more engaged, committed and productive workforce. But he stressed the need for more support for small businesses that cannot afford to pay the real living wage.

Closing the skills gap

Chair of the Good Employment Summit, Peter Cheese, CIPD Chief Executive asked the Mayors about the growing skills gaps and what they are doing to help overcome this in their respective regions.

As the North is home to many creative and filming industries the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin explained more about how a training initiative she is leading – the Mayor’s Screen Diversity Programme – is helping to get more young people into Film and TV Jobs. But she emphasised the need for more power from the government to close the growing skills gaps in many industries in the North.

Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, spoke about how he has established GMACS (Greater Manchester Apprenticeship & Careers Service) a place for young talent - up to age 30 - to access and apply for training and work opportunities in their local area.

“GMACS is great for young people to get their foot in the door and on the career ladder, but it’s also good for employers because it gives them a direct connection to young talent”, commented Andy.

More support for SMEs

Addressing a question from the delegates, Peter Cheese asked Andy Burnham about what challenges many small employers are facing right now and what more support he hopes to see for them.

Andy commented: “It is my hope that more devolution will see a culture change and help support more small businesses.

“The movement the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter is creating is becoming unstoppable. The CIPD has been a fantastic partner to us, and we really want to help support more small businesses through the Charter now, and really champion them by encouraging our residents to only buy their products and services.”

Peter Cheese’s final thought, was that “we should not let a crisis go to waste” as he urged the Metro Mayors and HR leaders of the North to continue to drive the good work agenda forward to create a better future world of work for everyone and a stronger, more resilient economy.

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  • Thank you for your comments Mark. The CIPD is politically neutral and supportive of all businesses. If you would like to discuss further please contact the CIPD North team:

  • Have to wonder if CIPD is now part of the labour party or has joined the TUC as it continually attacks businesses and suggests they are Dickensian in their employment practices. CIPD is becoming more and more political every week and its biases are clear.

    It would seem that local and national politicians aren't interested in improving the health and wellbeing of their people and want to pass on that cost to employers giving them responsibility but no authority and of course CIPD support that.

    As for Mr Burnham, he has already caused great harm to small businesses with his proposed but now suspended CAZ.  Those who have already laid out money they really couldn't afford on new vehicles and those who couldn't, face increased costs they also can't afford. Maybe if they didn't have that worry coupled with their own spiralling costs for supplies and energy they may have had money to spend on increasing pay and improving conditions.  I am pretty sure if labour don't do badly in next months local elections the CAZ will be back with a vengeance in July and who knows how much damage that will do to small and medium sized employers and the self employed.

    As for GMs Good Employer Charter, it isn't about supporting employers, it would seem on the face of it a return to when the unions controlled businesses and councils decided winners and losers based on fulfilling their demands.  We don't see any commitment from the councils or unions that in return for all this businesses big and small will see increased productivity and profits.   Just provides plenty of guidance and rules for them to follow but no financial support.

    Again we see a drive and commitment to help young people not bad in of itself but as usual we see nothing at all with regards to 50+ who are the most discriminated against group when it comes to employment both in terms of being made redundant and trying to find new employment when that happens.

    They talk about the skills gap, could it be that local authorities aren't doing their bit there either.  Employers have been complaining for decades that young people aren't coming out of education with the knowledge, skill or experience they are looking for.  Their own education policies are part of the problem, far more concerned with teaching CRE than they are with Math, English and Science.